|Updated: 2/20/2013 10:18 am
||Published: 2/19/2013 8:58 pm
A meth trafficking ring is dismantled in east Tulsa, but there is more arrests that come from the investigation.
On Friday, Tulsa Police with the Special Investigations Division and Agents with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics arrested Maria Martinez, 40, at her home near 31st and Garnett Road.
Two others, Fernando Escobar-Gonzales, 36 and Simonas Salinas, 35 were also arrested.
Police say they found more than three pounds of meth, two pistols, more than $20,000 cash in Martinez’ home. Police say in a traffic stop, Escobar-Gonzalez was the driver and Salinas was the passenger who had a pound of meth under her shirt.
Records show Martinez is a custodian for Tulsa Public Schools.
Martinez’ home is directly behind Disney Elementary school near 25th and Garnett.
When FOX23 News knocked on her door, her son didn’t want to speak. Records show Martinez is still in jail being held on $70,000 bond.
The TPS spokesperson says Martinez has been a night custodian at Springdale Elementary since 2008.
Neighbors say they had their suspicions but never knew drugs of this magnitude were next door.
“I figured that something was going but never would have thought something like that,” said a neighbor.
Police believe Martinez, Escobar-Gonzales and Salinas could be linked to Mexican cartel cell groups operating in Tulsa.
“These are not the only three people in town sitting on four pounds of meth there are probably at least 50 of them or more who knows,” says Corporal Mike Griffin.
He is a narcotics officer for the Tulsa Police Special Investigations Division.
There are multiple crossroads in Oklahoma for Cartels. Several people have been arrested and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs estimates agents break up a half a dozen cartels cells in the state every year.
"That is the type of drug dealer that most citizens think we spend our time investigating,” said Griffin.
The problem is police say they spend more time cleaning up homegrown meth labs and shake and bake meth labs that are tying up resources.
“If you really want to get dope off the street you have to go who has five, six or 30 pounds not two and half grams,” said Griffin.
"The meth found in the recent bust is worth more than $52,000 sold on the street.
“Do you know how many meth cooks I have to arrest off the street to get four pounds of meth?" Griffin said at least 1,000 meth cooks would equal the amount of meth found the recent meth trafficking bust.
Meth traffickers are posing a greater danger and operating in Tulsa.
"The amount of dope and the lives they affect,” said Griffin. "You're talking violence, person-on-person violence. Murder."
Murders in Tulsa are believed to be connected to trafficking “Ice”, which is known as meth imported from Mexico.
In 2011, the double homicide at Quik Trip at 71st and Riverside involving suspects Zane Atchison and Joel Pina and January’s quadruple homicide where a witness told police one of the suspect dealt Ice with one of the victims.
A spokesperson for TPS says as of today Maria Martinez has been suspended with pay pending an internal investigation.
Once that investigation is complete the Superintendent will determine the next course of action.